Staff safety a big priority

Prominent South Island construction companies Amalgamated Builders Ltd and Naylor Love Ltd have prioritised staff safety through a joint project with Remarkable Physios and ACC.

Aimed at reducing injuries in the workplace, the health and safety initiative placed a physiotherapist at the companies’ construction sites to train and educate building site employees.

Amalgamated Builders manager Karsten Pedersen says the companies are the first major commercial contractors in the region to proactively work to reduce injuries through a specifically designed injury prevention project.

“Staff well-being is a high priority for us, and when we were approached by ACC about this project we jumped at the opportunity,” Mr Pedersen says.

“We care about our staff and are dedicated to helping them stay safe on the job. We want to ensure they have all the information and training they need to avoid injury in what can be a very physical environment,” he says.

ACC injury prevention consultant Fraser Fyfe says both companies have proven their commitment by meeting ACC half way with the costs.

‘Money where their mouths are’

“They’ve really put their money where their mouths are. They’re good employers who are genuinely concerned about the well being of their people,” he says.

Mr Fyfe says the project is based on the premise that many injuries sustained by construction workers stemmed from physical tasks performed either incorrectly or repeatedly.

“It’s precisely in these areas that workplace interventions by physiotherapists and similar professions have been able to make significant reductions in the number of injuries.”

Remarkable Physios managing director and physiotherapist Melissa Davidson says it took a bit to break the ice initially.

Apprehensive staff

“Understandably, staff were a little apprehensive when I first turned up at the sites, but it didn’t take long to see a culture shift.

“They’re now far more aware of what they can do to move correctly and reduce the potential for injury,” Ms Davidson says.

Mr Pedersen says the project has been a great success, and refresher training visits were planned to ensure healthy workplace habits don’t slip.

“We’re an innovative company with a commitment to leading the way wherever we can. Sustaining a strong safety culture that will reduce injuries and related off-work costs while promoting well being among our staff is an innovation that we believe other companies should follow.”